5 Beginner Tips for Google BigQuery

Or, 5 things I wish I could have read before I started working with Google BigQuery.

First a disclaimer, I am a complete BigQuery newbie, I’m not a programmer or somebody with a background in database code. I have been working with Google BigQuery to analyse large data sets for a couple of months now, learning as I go.

I’ve found limited resources online for complete beginners like myself, and those that do exist are quite technical – designed for people with an established programming background.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered so far and hopefully help anyone else starting out with Google BigQuery. To those with the above mentioned technical knowledge, these may seem completely obvious, but they are things I wish someone had told me when I first started out! Here we go…

1 – You can save queries.
Once you’ve got a handy query nailed down, you can save it with the ‘Save Query’ button below the query window. Saving it as a ‘Project Query‘ means that anyone on your cloud account can see it/use it too – great for teams working together.

Saved a query but can’t find it? Click onto “Query History” and look under the ‘Queries‘ header for the following buttons:

2 – You can save a query as a view.
Are you, like me, running the same query over and over again and having to export the results as a table? Click onto ‘Save view‘ beneath the query window and you’ll save this query as an automatically refreshing table.
View’s can be differentiated from tables by this icon: 

3 – There is a log of your previous queries.
It might be pretty obvious that ‘Query History‘ is your log of previous queries, a handy resource if you want to pick up what you we’re working on yesterday, but it’s also important to note that if your part of a team, this log does not show you the queries of other users, only yours.

4 – You can click on the schema.
Clicking on field names in the schema will automatically insert them into your query – it even adds a comma after each one. This makes adding multiple fields to your query a quick and simple process

Hitting CTRL+SPACE is a neat little suggest / auto-complete feature that shows you options for completing field names or available functions – great when you are first experimenting with what you can extract from your data – try it out!